Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Blues of Self-Regulation

One of the odder tropes of current conservative discourse related to the possibility of constraining the excesses of the Trump administration is blaming (who else?) Democrats for eliminating institutional checks available to the minority party, like the filibuster. What's weird about this is that if conservatives actually believe that such constraints are important parts of our system of checks and balances, they're absolutely free to restore them. Nobody's stopping them. But the idea that Republicans will self-regulate is seen as transparently absurd by all parties -- Republicans included.

Yet there's an even more fundamental absurdity: the implication that were it not for Democrats changing the rule-in-question sometime in the past eight years, the rule would be there to constrain Republicans. The problem being that, even when Democrats didn't change a rule protecting the minority party, Republicans haven't even blinked before casting them aside the minute they interfered with their partisan agenda. We already saw this with filibusters on Supreme Court nominees (Democrats abolished the filibuster for lower-court nominees, but not SCOTUS). And now GOP Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) is proposing that the Senate eliminate the "blue slip" rule, which allows Senators to block judicial nominations in their home states. Democrats had kept that rule despite its use by GOP Senators to obstruct Democratic judicial nominations in the Obama administration. But -- surprise, surprise -- it turns out that whether Democrats keep or change a minority-protective rule has absolutely no bearing on whether Republicans want to keep it.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Republicans Don't Care about Black People

FiveThirtyEight has an interesting graphic about which groups Democrats and Republicans think face "a lot of discrimination."

Democrats, as one might expect, tend to think that groups who face a lot of discrimination face a lot of discrimination, and groups who don't, don't. Republicans, by contrast, are oddly "egalitarian" in their beliefs. Yes, Christians are on top, because, you know, Republicans, but there isn't a huge gap between them and the rest of the pack. Eyeballing it, virtually all groups clock in between 40-50%.

With one glaring exception. Republicans seem willing to believe that a trans person has it as hard as a Christian or a Muslim is about as likely to face discrimination as the ever-oppressed White. But if there's one thing they're damn sure of, it's that Black people are made in the shade here in the US.

A Very Engaging Weekend

On the first weekend of May, my true love gave to me ....

Five restaurants to eat at;
Four Schraubs/Roddes with us;
Three days in Vegas;
Two stand-up comics;
And her hand to be married!

I'm so happy to announce that Jill and I are officially engaged!

(Many of you are no doubt surprised to hear this. Specifically, those of you who assumed we were already married).

Wedding date is TBD (we've already been together for 10 years -- what's the rush?), but great thanks to her family and my family for all meeting us out in Las Vegas so we could celebrate together.

Thank Goodness for the Jerusalem Post's Tough Questions

Jacob Katz, editor of the Jerusalem Post, on why his newspaper invited neo-Nazi-linked White House advisor Sebastian Gorka to speak at their conference (April 27):
We decided that ,,, he would be interviewed by me on stage while knowing that I will confront him with tough questions, including about the various allegations that have been reported in the press.
Jacob Katz, editor of the Jerusalem Post, at the conference (May 7):
Sitting on stage in an interview setting, Gorka was not pressed by Jerusalem Post editor Jacob Katz to provide any substantive explanation of his involvement with Vitezi Rend order in Hungary. Although he has denied being a formal member of the group, Gorka has repeatedly expressed support for the far right wing organization that the U.S. government says was under the control of the Nazis during World War II.
Katz allowed him to change the subject to his preferred topic of the threat of radical Islam.
Reports were that Gorka was showered with a "lengthy applause" by the "adoring crowd."

What a fantastic display of courageous journalism.